Studying certain species of animals like lobsters and jellyfish is helpful in finding out how biological immortality works, but scientists are nowhere near finding the recipe for eternal life.
And sadly, the Fountain of Youth remains hidden – probably in a fairy tale.
But that doesn’t mean our hopes and ambitions of reaching the age of 100 are impossible.
If you reside in one of the Blue Zones, then odds are you’ll beat the national life expectancy average by many, many years.
What’s amazing is that the high number of centenarians living in the Blue Zones is not a result of mere chance. Sure, genes play a role in longevity, but science shows that following certain diets and maintaining an active lifestyle are the keys to a long and fruitful life.
So what really happens in the Blue Zones is people living the kind of lifestyle that contributes to their longevity.
As simple as that.
If you’d like to learn what the secrets of longevity are (according to some of the world's longest-lived people), read on!
But don't stop there. Consider committing to some of these diet and lifestyle changes, too!
1. Focus on the whole, fresh foods
Ditch fast foods, processed meats, and fried foods, and instead opt for the freshest ingredients you can find. If at all possible, you may want to eat a lot less meat or even switch to a plant-based diet. The Okinawans’ diet mainly consists of low-cal and high-carb foods while rarely indulging in pork and fish. Our centenarian friends in Sardinia, Italy, focus heavily on dairy and whole grains while limiting their meat and fish consumption to roughly 5%. As for the Nicoyans, they eat the most meat of all the Blue Zones (chicken and pork), but their diet is still heavily based on plants like squash and black beans.
2. Stay active
Being active does not mean hitting the gym twice a day or running for miles every morning, although vigorous exercise programs may actually be beneficial to longevity. The point is to be active and stay that way, even when you’re well into your 50s and beyond.
World War II veteran George Boggess (1912-2019) told reporters that walking every day and not being strapped to the back seat of a car was what helped him reach triple digits, despite needing a cane to maintain balance. Let this be a lesson to those of us who remain seated for most of the day.
3. Cut ties with negative people
117-year-old Emma Morano was verified as the oldest living person born in the 1800s until her death in April 2017.
She accredited her longevity to two things: her diet which surprisingly consisted of cookies and raw eggs (not recommended), and leaving her abusive husband. She was tied to the jerk after receiving death threats, and she called it quits after their six-month-old child passed away in 1938, and since then, she never looked back. Being stuck with a negative person creates a harmful mindset which may shorten your lifespan.
If possible, leave those who hurt you physically and/or emotionally.
4. Take things in stride
It should come as no surprise that stress contributes to a shorter lifespan. While celebrating her 100th birthday, Betty Esser, told reporters that her key to living a long and fulfilling life was taking things in stride.
Being easy-going and never getting overly upset about the little things was what helped her celebrate her newly achieved centenarian status among loving friends and family.
5. Stay optimistic
Norma Martin, a Floridian resident who sadly passed away in 2016 at 101 years of age, recalled in an earlier interview that having a positive outlook on lift kept her gears moving. A study in 2019 found that Mrs. Martin was onto something with her idea of optimism. Although several variables affect the “quality” of optimism, a generally positive lifestyle can do wonders for longevity.
6. Drink a bit of wine (if your heart so desires)
The people of Sardinia, Italy, are known to drink a bit of wine at lunch and dinner. Zelinda Pagieno, a 102-year-old resident of the Mediterranean island, claims that drinking two fingers width of red wine a day has helped in reaching centenarian status.
The antioxidants found in red wine are known to help reduce inflammation, as well as improve glucose metabolism and lower the risk of heart disease. The key here is moderation – too much can lead to adverse effects.
7. Drink plenty of water
Christian Mortensen, a Danish-American who lived until the ripe old age of 115, told reports that drinking plenty of water was what kept him going. Not only does drinking more water improve cognitive performance, but it also prevents an array of nasty symptoms.
Mr. Mortensen was known for boiling his water before drinking it in abundance, so perhaps a glass or two of warm water every day might be worth giving a try.
8. Mind your own business
Neighbors having a fight? Perhaps a family member is in the midst of a divorce? Or maybe a co-worker is running a smear campaign to seek attention from higher-ups?
Whatever it is, if it has nothing to do with you, just let it go. Carmena Vella of Qala, Malta, who recently turned 103 years old, spoke of how keeping trouble and hate away from your mind is what keeps her strong and young at heart.
There’s no point in arguing against it – the less you worry about, the more time you’ll have to enjoy whatever life has in store for you.
9. Do what you enjoy
If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. This concept holds true for the numerous centenarians living both in and outside of the Blue Zones.
Even though you may have to a couple of rough years in life, you should always find time to do what makes you happy. Make use of your days off by spending it with loved ones, meditating, or work on your hobbies.
Whatever action puts a smile on your face should be an integral part of your daily life!
10. Know your purpose in life
Knowing your purpose is arguably an ingredient for longevity.
Okinawans believe that Ikigai – a reason for being – plays a rather significant role in adding fulfilling years to your life. Your meaning in this world should drive you to wake up every morning and refrain from slipping into a state of mind that negatively affects your overall health.
Many people in Blue Zones define their purpose as lending a helping hand, putting your skills into action, or even befriending every passerby that wanders in front of your home.
To wrap it all up...
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. These are just a few of the secrets of longevity told by centenarians and super-centenarians.
We’d all love to be able to dance at our great-granddaughter’s wedding, and by following these simple steps, as well as staying away from unnecessary dangers – who knows? – you might be able to, one day.